Each February for more than a decade, armadas of volunteers in Texas and Louisiana spend 10 days on the water searching the bays for abandoned crab traps that have been left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines, “ghost fish” and create an unsightly view. To date, they’ve hauled off more than 55,000 of these dilapidated devices.
This year, to help facilitate cleanup efforts around Sabine Lake, Louisiana will be working jointly with Texas by closing the season to crabbing concurrently Feb. 20-March 1 for the Annual Crab Trap Removal program.
During this 10-day period, all Texas and the Louisiana side of Sabine Lake will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps. Any traps left in the bay — including traps tied to docks — will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will provide trap drop-off sites at several locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 21, weather permitting. Additionally at all sites, dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 21 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 20 or after March 1.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program and the Galveston Bay Foundation are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.
To participate, volunteers may pick up free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests that volunteers who remove traps record and submit information about the number of traps they collect as well as documenting any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected during the closure period for wire crab traps. For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or Art Morris at the Corpus Christi field station,(361) 825-3356 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Trap Drop-off Sites
SABINE LAKE – Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104 (ext. 222)
- Mesquite Point Boat Ramp next to Walter Umphrey State Park — Facilitated & trap drop-off site
- Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp – Trap drop-off site
GALVESTON BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Glen Sutton (281) 534-0110
- Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) — Facilitated & trap drop-off site
- Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp — Trap drop-off site
- Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp — Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation & trap drop-off site
- Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp- FM 2004 — Facilitated & trap drop-off site
MATAGORDA BAY– Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman (361) 972-6253
- Mitchell Cut Boat (ICWW) Ramp @ Sargent — Trap drop-off site
- Matagorda Harbor @ Matagorda — Trap drop-off site
- Railroad Park @ Palacios — Trap drop-off site
SAN ANTONIO BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
- Charlie’s Bait Stand — Facilitated & trap drop-off site
- Port O’Connor TPWD Docks — Facilitated & Trap drop-off site
- Austwell Public Boat Ramp – Trap drop off site
ARANSAS BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Chris Mace (361) 729-5429
- Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp — Trap drop-off site
- North Cove Harbor Boat Ramp — Trap drop-off site
CORPUS CHRISTI BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328
- South Conn Brown Harbor Public Ramp — Trap drop-off site
- Ransom Channel Public Ramp — Trap drop-off site
UPPER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Faye Grubbs (361) 825-3353
- Bluff’s Landing Marina — Trap drop-off site
- Kaufer Park Boat Ramp — Trap drop-off site
LOWER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Jason Ferguson (956) 350-4490
- Adolfe Thomae County Park — Trap drop-off site
- Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp — Trap drop-off site